How to be Merry & Bright During the Holidays Valuable Advice from the NLU Counseling Center

snowmansandThe holiday season is filled with expectations of cheer and bliss.  From decorations and carols to gift-giving and time with family, the messages we receive are that we should be jolly during this time of year.  For many people, however, the holidays can bring about a great amount of stress and anxiety. Oftentimes there is an unspoken pressure to buy just the right gift to make your loved one happy.  Other times it’s reconnecting with family that brings up difficult feelings, unhealed wounds.  Just beneath the surface of society’s messages of abundant bliss and good cheer is the reality that with joy comes sorrow.

So how does one manage the barrage of societal messages and the feelings that are often out of sync with those messages?

The practice of mindfulness can help to manage the array of emotions the holiday season can often evoke.  Mindfulness is often defined as paying attention to the present moment without judgment.  Should you find yourself filled with worry, with feelings of sadness or loss, I encourage you to try being mindful.  Take a deep breath, notice the feelings, acknowledge them, and kindly accept that they are present.  Do not push them away or berate yourself for not feeling happy each moment of the day.  One true gift you can give yourself this holiday season is being in contact with the present moment.

For information on the benefits of mindfulness, and the history of the practice please visit:

Interested in learning how to cultivate a mindfulness practice? Please join us for our Mindfulness Stress Reduction Group. More information is below!

Mindfulness Group for Stress Management for NLU Students

With all of the distractions, to-do lists, and expectations students are faced with, it is understandably easy to become overwhelmed, anxious, stressed out and shut down. The Mindfulness Group for Stress Management is a weekly course that promotes increased well-being through body-mind-focused exercises. The course combines meditation, gentle yoga (for any and every body), and education about mindfulness. When practiced on a daily basis (5-10 minutes) the techniques offered in this group have been proven to reduce symptoms in individuals who struggle with stress, anxiety and feelings of overwhelm, as well as improve attention, memory, decision making and sleep patterns. Please contact the counseling center at to sign up!

When: Mondays from 6pm-7pm or Wednesdays from 3pm-4pm
Location: Chicago Campus
Fee: Free for NLU students
To Register: Email

Kristen Snell-Anzalone, NLU Counseling Center

Danielle Laban

About Danielle Laban

Danielle is the Director of Student Experience at National Louis. She's an experienced student affairs professional who is focused on student success. Danielle earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Northern Colorado and her Master of Arts at Roosevelt University.